Our editorial: Anybody but Courser, Gamrat
Voters have a chance to put an exclamation point on the end of the political careers of Todd Courser and Cindy Gamrat. They should send a very loud message Tuesday to these tone-deaf former lawmakers that there is no room for them in a state Legislature they so thoroughly embarrassed.
Courser, from Lapeer County, resigned and Gamrat, from Allegan County in west Michigan, was expelled from the Legislature in September. The two were engaged in an extramarital affair and used their staffs and other state resources to cover it up.
Their tale went from the sordid to the bizarre when Courser concocted a fake story about an encounter with a gay prostitute and emailed it to Republicans throughout the state.
He apparently felt his crazy fantasy would divert attention from his actual misdeeds. It didn’t work. Courser resigned before lawmakers could make another attempt to expel him.
Gamrat became the fourth member ever ousted from the Legislature. It was the right decision, and good riddance to bad apples.
Unfortunately, nothing in state law prevents ousted lawmakers from seeking their old seats in the special election. And that’s what Courser and Gamrat are doing.
Their names will be on the ballots for the special elections in the 80th and 82nd districts.
So will the names of several other candidates, and voters should make sure to pick one of them who isn’t Courser or Gamrat.
It speaks to the arrogance of these two that they’d even attempt to return to Lansing. Courser, an egomaniac who seems to find great humor in his scandal, is peddling the narrative that the pair are victims of a vindictive Republican establishment that doesn’t like them because they are true conservatives.
That they are true nuts is the more likely explanation.
If either one were to make it back to the Legislature, it would further tarnish an institution whose reputation is already pretty poor.
Sadly, they have a chance of prevailing in Tuesday’s balloting, simply because there are so many candidates vying for the GOP nomination.
In the 80th District, Gamrat’s old seat, eight Republicans are running. Any one of them would be better than the former incumbent.
Most notable among them appears to be Jim Storey and Mary Whiteford of Casco Township. She is a nurse, an advocate for veterans and a champion of mental health reform. Storey is an Allegan County commissioner who served in the administration of former Gov. John Engler.
In the 82nd District, 11 candidates are seeking the nomination. Again, any one of them is preferable to Courser.
Voters should take a look at Jan Peabody.
Peabody is the Lapeer County Republican Party chairwoman and nearly defeated Courser in the 2014 election. She gets high marks from education reform groups.
Retired Judge David Gernant is the only Democratic candidate in the 80th District.
Three Democrats are seeking the nomination in the 82nd District — Margaret Guerrero DeLuca, R.D. Bohm, and Eric Johnson.
DeLuca ran against Courser in 2014, losing by 2,900 votes. She is the former mayor of Imlay City and is a substitute teacher.